my new kitchen: the refrigerator

A few months back, my fridge developed an alarming and persistent rattle. It might last another five years, or another five days, but after seventeen years of reliable service, the end was clearly drawing nigh. My husband bought a replacement part to forstall the inevitable, and we began to research fridges. We had a few ideas, but still, we couldn’t bring ourselves to act. The fridge was working, after all.

And then the island happened. Standing on the far side of my now expansive workspace, I realized that, in order for the island to be fully useable and for the kitchen to feel balanced, I needed to turn the entire kitchen into, well, a kitchen. The desk needed to go, and —

Hey, wait! Would it work to put the fridge in that spot? In the old fridge’s space, we could put a small desk of some sort, and — be still my beating heart, o! — a coffee station.

Once I had a plan, things happened. First, lots more research. Second, a trip to a couple big box stores to see the actual fridge I’d chosen.

The one at Home Depot was on sale for $1,300, but the sales rep said that another sale was coming up in several days and it’d probably drop more. So we poked around in a second-hand appliance store and then, on a whim, popped into Ollie’s — my husband said they had a scratch-and-dent section. Lo and behold, they had the exact fridge we were looking for, brand new but with a few small dents, for just $900. We decided to think it over — the Home Depot sale was coming — and drove off. But we only got a couple miles down the road before turning around. There was no way Home Depot was going to shave 400 dollars off that fridge (and we were right — it only dropped a hundred). 

Despite my push for this fridge, I was rather ambivalent about it at first. Perhaps it was the hefty pricetag? Or maybe the niggling worry that we hadn’t made the best possible choice? Or just, the seismic shifts in my kitchen caused me to feel out of sorts?

Whatever the reason, I felt discombobulated and unsure. Was it too big? Too dark? Too out of the way? (We briefly — very briefly — considered recessing it into the side of the house). Also, for all it’s hugeness, I didn’t feel like it had a ton ton of room. Would it provide adequate storage for all my gallon jars and bulky pans and trays? And the freezer felt clunky. I could pile the drawers full when they were open, but if I went overboard, they wouldn’t close. (As opposed to my former top freezer which I could stuff and jam with impunity.)

But I persevered and, within a couple days, I was head over heels again.

Now whenever anyone walks in the house I drag them over to the fridge and make them stand there while I pull out the deep crispers (that I can see into!) and the huge cheese-meat drawer (that I stuff with eggs and cream cheese and butter, along with meats and cheeses) and the water dispenser (that we don’t use) and my leftovers shelf and pint jar shelf and quart jar shelf and the couple shelves I keep mostly empty so they’re always at the ready for a casserole dish or a few loaves of bread dough that need to proof.

I even yank open the freezer to proudly flaunt my ice maker — an ice maker! — and collection of quart jars, newly labeled on the lid for easy identification.

Oh, it’s glorious!

Bonus: now there’s a huge, empty, clean fridge in the basement, just waiting to back me up. (Except now it’s half full since just this morning I made a run to the orchard for lots of apples and cider because cold storage!!!)

Temporarily, we’ve set up the office corner and coffee station.

I stole the little round table from my older daughter’s room (it is my table, after all!) and for now that’s my desk.

Then I crept into my father’s shop and, with my mother’s blessing, stole his rolly table.

Tucked next to the fridge, it makes a perfect station for everything coffee and tea. I even got an electric water pot so I don’t have to run across town (ha!) to the stove.

test run  schnazzy!

And then I stocked one of the island drawers with teas (and cereal bowls and spoons since, for easy breakfastry, the cereal drawer is right below the tea drawer, and directly opposite the fridge).

Finding a place for the coffee pot has always been a bit of a scramble, especially whenever we’ve had company. Even for everyday, I stored the coffee pot in the back hall, just to get it off my counter. To have a spot specifically for coffee (and hot beverages and other drinks) feels utterly luxurious, like I’ve finally arrived

A basket on the rolly table’s middle shelf holds all my mugs (which means I now have a freed-up kitchen counter above which the mugs used to dangle  Hm, how to best utilize that corner?), and the bottom shelf hold the tins for oats and bread flour.

People keep saying I should clean up the rolly table — paint it, maybe — but I kind of like the artsy paint splotches and stains.

Besides, my dad’s probably going to steal it back sooner or later….

This same time, years previous: smoking food, Thai chicken curry, lessons from a shopping trip, the wiggles, why I’m glad we don’t have guns in our house, chicken salad, Chinese cabbage and apple salad.


  • Lizzy

    I had a lost in translation moment over the water pot. We call them kettles in the UK! I can't decide if I'm envious more of the fridge or the coffee stand. So I'm trying to remind myself envy is a sin!!

  • beckster

    This is fabulous, and I admit that I am a bit jealous! I have wanted an island forever, but I keep thinking it will not work since my husband is in a wheelchair now. As much as you cook, you deserve to have the kitchen of your dreams!

  • Goatldi

    Love this!
    In my new home I have a seller’s hand me down fridge. It is aging as fridges go 12 years but well made and runs well. I know I should be grateful but I keep hoping it dies so I can get the one I have my eye on. And it is black not my choice. Pity I am.

    Enjoy your sweet kitchen and new additions.

  • Lana

    When I got my new fridge 5 years ago I was amazed at the light inside. My old one was dark and dreary but this one is so bright and cheerful when I open the door. I so want a place for coffee but I would have to sacrifice the low bar and chairs that Hubby installed for the grandchildren in our kitchen and they would howl if they came and it was gone.

  • Margo

    Fourth photo down, I am imagining the conversation you are having with your new fridge 🙂 🙂 🙂
    This is so fun to watch you reconfiguring your space.

  • Miriam

    Your fridge looks exactly like ours. I agree, it took an adjustment period to get used to the new configuration of space, but on the whole I'm happy with it now. I could still use a small chest freezer for more cold storage, since that fridge with its freezer is all we got. I'm having fun watching your kitchen renovation emerge and seeing in my mind's eye what I would like for my kitchen someday. Enjoy!

  • Jenny

    We have had that exact frig for about 5 years now and still love it. The only issue is that sometimes the doors don't get closed all the way and we don't realize it until the next time we go to open the door (which occasionally has been the next morning).

    • Jennifer Jo

      Thanks for the heads-up! (We do that with our freezers on occasion — we should probably have an alarm hooked up to them…)

  • katie

    I agree with you the rolly table is perfect as is. It is the furniture equivalent of getting a new pair of jeans already worn in — not storebought to look like they are worn in, but ACTUALLY worn in to your knees and shapes and preferences!

    • Jennifer Jo


      There WAS a little drawer tucked under the table top. I thought I might use it to hold my teas, but when I pulled it out to wipe it down, it immediately disintegrated. (Sorry, Dad!)

  • Becky

    It's all so lovely! Who knew the island would lead to a full kitchen overhaul?
    Enjoy the new fridge – we got a very similar one last year to replace our almost 25 year old model. Sadly, we did not gain a basement cold storage unit out of the upgrade, as the original one was deemed not worth keeping.

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